The County/Metro research into fire-fighting suppressive capacity and the impact on building fire damage at >5000 UK building fires, 2009–2012

Paul Grimwood*, Iain A. Sanderson

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper describes research by Glasgow Caledonian University into fire-fighting water flow-rates as actually deployed to control and suppress > 5000 building fires that occurred in two fire authority jurisdictions in the UK between 2009 and 2012. One fire service covered a large county suburban risk area with low to medium populated areas, whilst the other covered a large metropolitan region with heavily populated inner city areas included. Using data from the national IRS fire reporting framework (UK Fire & Rescue Service National Incident Recording System), it was demonstrated that there are critical links between the amounts of water used/required for effective fire-fighting in relation to the occupancy type, the density of the fire load, the estimated heat release from compartment fires and the extent of fire damage that may impact on the building and its contents.
    Comparisons are made to similar research undertaken previously in the UK that estimated water carried to the scene by fire engines (1800 l in the literature) was generally adequate in dealing with building fires on 86% of occasions. Interestingly, some fifty years later, the County/Metro research re- ported in this paper demonstrates that just 64% of fires are currently dealt with using the 1800 l on-board water provision provided by a single fire response vehicle, although the source of data representation may be different. A deployed flow-rate between 6 and 12 LPM/m2 per 100m2 of fire involvement was generally observed in the current study and the variance was mainly relative to occupancy type. An existing design methodology for fire-fighting water provisions is then held in comparison to the County/Metro flow-rate data, demonstrating close correlations with this extensive empirical research.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)238-247
    Number of pages10
    JournalFire Safety Journal
    Early online date13 Dec 2014
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


    • fire-fighting water
    • fire-fighting flow-rate
    • fire mains
    • building fire damage
    • fire hazard analysis
    • fire engineering
    • suppressive capacity
    • fire load
    • intervention


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